Jumping for Health
Morton Walker, DPM, published in the Townsend Letters for Doctors
In the spring of 1981, 28-year old Samuel J. Kofsky of Manchester, New Hampshire, a Ph.D. candidate attending the School of Economics at Dartmouth University, lay in a Hanover, New Hampshire hospital room, recovering from the surgical excision of an apparent cyst. Soon after the operation, his surgeon and an oncologist entered the room and walked hesitantly to the foot of the patient's bed. The surgeon said, "Sam, II don't want to shock you, but our hospital pathology department reports that your biopsy shows you have a connective tissue cancer. It's a rare form of fibrosarcoma, which develops suddenly from small bumps on the skin like what I thought was your cyst. Sam, I'm sorry to tell you that there's an 80% chance it will take your life within four years."
The oncologist had come along to confirm the young man's diagnosis and prognosis. Then he suggested further treatment. Soon Sam Kofsky found himself faced with daily radiation therapy and then intravenous chemotherapy which the late Senator Hubert H. Humphrey had once referred to during a TV interview as "bottled death!" For graduate student it was devastating treatment routine. He felt that his body being assaulted, burned, and poisoned.
To sustain himself through chemotherapy, and to believe that he was doing something positive to help himself, Mr. Kofsky took up exercise of the aerobic type. Aerobics is the steady state of exercising which, when performed over a period of months or years, develops the cardiopulmonary system's ability to take in and utilize more oxygen. This elevated amount of "oxygen uptake" increases cellular metabolism of oxygen molecules as nutrients. Besides competitive team sports such as football, basketball, racquetball and tennis, aerobic exercises include speed walking, running, sustained jogging, swimming, rowing, bicycle riding, calisthenics performed in a specific time frame, and rope jumping.
As it happens, Mr. Kofsky became intrigued with rebounding, which is similar to jumping rope except that it's performed on a kind of mini-trampoline (see Photograph 1). Since the jumping surface of a rebounding device has cushioning spring to it, any jarring to one's ankle joints, knees, and back is removed. While rebounding, too, a person can work out outdoors or indoors and simultaneously speak on the telephone, watch television, listen to music, and do other things. Jumping on the mini-trampoline is the ultimate aerobic exercise able to be performed anywhere, even in hotel rooms with a carryon, foldable-type rebounding device. As he was being treated with toxic chemicals, Mr. Kofsky engaged in rebounding for his health several hours every day, including 60 minutes before breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whenever possible, he carried his rebounding device out-of-doors to bound under the trees. Also he ate a nutritious diet, took supplements, and engaged in other exercises for diversity. At regular intervals he swam a full mile at the local health club, furiously punched the heavy bag, and ran a consistent six-minute mile over a ten-mile course. His weight plummeted 36 pounds from a high of 193 not from cancer, but from his strenuous amount of daily exercising.
The exercise was good psychologically for Mr. Kofsky, since so much activity had him believing that he was "winning" his battle against cancer. Philosopher Michael Novak has described winning as "a form of thumbing one's nose, for a moment, at the cancers and diseases that, in the end, strike down all of us." The patient pushed himself harder each day. By the end of a year, he had doubled his daily rebounding time and was seemingly able to go into a meditative state even as he bounced on the device. Mr. Kofsky additionally increased the number of swimming laps, miles run, and time punching the bag. He gained a new confidence.
Since he needed to research his Ph.D. thesis, later the student was forced to drop back on his two more time-consuming sports at the gym and swimming pool. But he never diminished the amount of his jumping for health, because he traveled with a portable rebounder which folded into its own airplane carryon bag.
I met Sam Kofsky 120 feet below the ocean's surface at Grand Cayman Island when we buddied during a morning scuba dive on the North Wall's underwater drop off. Returning aboard our dive boat, he enthusiastically told me of his involvement with rebounding. I told him then of my having authored a book on the same subject. We met often during that vacation trip and spoke about other alternative methods of healing. Our conversations took place in January 1995, and we've stayed in touch since. Kofsky, now age forty-two, had already lived well past his prior dire prognosis. He attributed the circumstance of his thriving to his jumping for health and life.
The same time that he took chemotherapy and engaged in his prolonged exercise therapy, the Dartmouth student finished his doctoral thesis. He is now an assistant professor of economics at a midwestern university. Dr. Kofsky needs no chemicals for cancer and feels fitter than ever today. Perhaps the malignancy still lurks somewhere in his body, for once cancer has been present the potential for its return always remains. Still, this economics professor knows that he has fought it off the best way he could. Dr. Kofsky continues to rebound and participate in other sports activities.
Photograph 1. Shown is a deluxe Needak® rebounding device on which and exerciser is jogging without feeling the jarring effect of landing on pavement.
Rebounding Benefits the Body in 30 Healthful Ways
Rebounding is an exercise that reduces your body fat; firms your legs, thighs, abdomen, arms, and hips; increases your agility; improves your sense of balance; strengthens your muscles over all; provides an aerobic effect for your heart; rejuvenates your body when it's tired, and generally puts you in a state of health and fitness.
You can easily perform this exercise in your living room, your office, and your yard. The traveler may wish to carry a portable rebounder aboard an airliner for use in a hotel room. It's the most convenient, metabolically effective form of exercise around.
There are 30 health advantages of regular rebounding, including the following:
1. It increases the capacity for respiration.
2. It circulates more oxygen to the tissues.
3. It establishes a better equilibrium between the oxygen required by the tissues and the oxygen made available.
4. It causes muscles to perform work in moving fluids through the body to lighten the heart's load.
5. It tends to reduce the height to which the arterial pressures rise during exertion.
6. It lessens the time during which blood pressure remains abnormal after severe activity.
7. It holds off the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
8. It increases the functional activity of the red bone marrow in the production of red blood cells.
9. It aids lymphatic circulation, as well as the flow in the veins of the circulatory system.
10. It encourages collateral circulation.
11. It strengthens the heart and other muscles in the body so that they work more efficiently.
12. It allows the resting heart to beat less often.
13. It lowers elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
14. It stimulates the metabolism.
15. It promotes body growth and repair.
16. It tones up the glandular system, especially the thyroid to increase its output.
17. It adds to the alkaline reserve of the body which may be of significance in an emergency requiring prolonged effort.
18. It chemically attains absolute potential of the cells.
19. It reserves bodily strength and physical efficiency.
20. It expands the body's capacity for fuel storage and endurance.
21. It improves coordination through the transmission of nerve impulses and responsiveness of the muscle fibers.
22. It affords muscular vigor from increased muscle fiber tone.
23. It offers relief from neck and back pains, headaches, and other pain caused by lack of exercise.
24. It enhances digestion and elimination processes.
25. It allows for better and easier relaxation and sleep.
26. It results in a better mental performance, with keener learning processes.
27. It curtails fatigue and menstrual discomfort for women.
28. It minimizes the number of colds, allergies, digestive disturbances, and abdominal problems.
29. It tends to slow down aging.
30. It reduces the likelihood of obesity.
Photograph 2. Shown is the Needak® Soft Bounce™ rebounder with a stabilizing bar attached. This bar offers those who feel unsteady on their feet a greater sense of security while rebounding.
How Rebound Exercise Accomplishes Its Benefits
Rebounding involves aerobic movements performed on a bouncing device that looks like a small trampoline. It has you jumping up and down for health and fitness. As an ideal jumping device, the mini-trampoline or "rebounder," has a strong woven mat attached by coiled steel springs to a circular steel frame. The rebounder usually is round, although some models have been made oval, rectangular, square or polygonal. The entire jumping surface of the mat is twenty-eight inches in diameter, stands on six legs with spring coils of their own, which are seven to nine inches high.
Sometimes, for people who feel unsteady on their feet or for the elderly, handicapped, and disabled, a stabilizing bar may be added to the rebounder's frame (see Photograph 2). It's attached to two of the frame's legs so that the individual needing more security can hold onto this bar and still bounce aerobically.
In jumping on a well-made rebounder, the exerciser usually feels invigorated and filled with a sense of well-being. People who rebound find they're able to work longer, sleep better, and feel less tense and nervous. The effect is not just psychological, because the action of bouncing up and down against gravity, without trauma to the musculoskeletal system, is one of the most beneficial aerobic exercises ever developed.
Rebounding aerobics is working with gravity to cleanse your tissue cells and act as an oxygenator, which, in turn, lightens the load on the heart. Also it's fun to bounce! Much more than fun, however, rebounding provides a number of physiological pick-me-ups for the person who sustains this activity for at least ten minutes, four times a day, or for a single daily session for 40 minutes. As you bounce, your feet hit the mat with twice the force of gravity. Then just as the astronauts experience while floating in space, your body is in a state of weightlessness at the top of the bounce.
Jumping on the mini-trampoline is remarkably un-strenuous on the Joints. There's no solid ground to suddenly stop the bouncing of your feet. Your movements are perfectly safe, and they make the effect of gravity beneficial. By working against constant gravitational pressure while bouncing, you resist the Earth's pull.
Your resistance is subtle, but it builds cellular strength. Rebounding's alternating weightlessness and double gravity produce a pumping action which pulls out waste products from the cells and forces into them, oxygen and nutrition from the bloodstream.
Jumping's Oxygenating Effect
If you have a resting heart rate of less than 60 beats a minute, don't smoke, don't have chest pain, live a healthful lifestyle, and engage in rebounding for 40 minutes or more each day, at least five days a week, theoretically it's not likely that you'll ever develop a heart problem if you have none now. Jumping on a rebounder helps you to attain your heart rate target zone every day that you rebound for the recommended 40 minutes.
Rebound exercise strengthens your heart in two ways: It improves the tone and quality of the muscle itself, and it increases the coordination of the fibers as they wring blood out of the heart during each beat. The aerobic effect while you are rebound-jumping equals and often surpasses that of running.
Your rate of rebounding will vary, depending on how vigorously you bounce and how high you lift your feet off the mat. Rebound exercise offers the ideal aerobic effect with almost any rate of performance, because it fills all the requisites of an oxygenating exercise. It's likely that the vast amount of oxygen taken in by Dr. Samuel Kofsky over a sustained period was the true source of his cancer remission. Rebounding might be considered a precursor movement for better achieving the oxygen therapies.
The Detoxification Effect of Rebounding
The lymphatic system is the metabolic garbage can of the body. It rids you of toxins such as dead and cancerous cells, nitrogenous wastes, fat, infectious viruses, heavy metals, and other assorted junk cast off by the cells. The movement performed in rebounding provides the stimulus for a free-flowing system that drains away these potential poisons.
Unlike the arterial system, the lymphatic system does not have its own pump. It has no heart muscle to move the fluid around through its lymph vessels. There are just three ways to activate the flow of lymph away from the tissues it serves and back into the main pulmonary circulation. Lymphatic flow requires muscular contraction from exercise and movement, gravitational pressure, and internal massage to the valves of lymph ducts.
Rebounding supplies all three methods of removing waste products from the cells and from the body. Then arterial blood enters the capillaries in order to furnish the cells with fresh tissue fluid containing food and oxygen. The bouncing motion effectively moves and recycles the lymph and the entire blood supply through the circulatory system many times during the course of the rebounding session.
Rebounding is a lymphatic exercise. As stated earlier, it has the same effect on your body as jumping rope, but without any jarring effect to the ankles, knees, and lower back that comes from hitting the ground. Better than rope jumping, however, the lymphatic channels get put under hydraulic pressure to move fluids containing waste products of metabolism around and out of the body through the left subclavian vein.
Rebounding's Stabilizing Effect on the Nervous System
Bouncing on a rebounder is an excellent method of reducing stress. It can put the bouncing person into a trance like state and totally relax him or her. Jumping for health and fitness not only stabilizes the nervous system during the exercise period, but continues to help maintain equilibrium after one steps off the device. The result is increased resistance to environmental, physical, emotional, and mental stress. It may possibly help an individual to avoid psychosomatic disease and mental or behavioral instability.
Rebounding may be enjoyed for a lifetime and adjusted to your own particular level of fitness. It is safe, convenient and inexpensive, and its protective effects against degenerative diseases make it one of the most effective forms of motion in the work place, in recreational pursuits, or in simply exercising for the care of your body and mind.
The Physical Muscular Effect of Rebounding
James White, Ph.D., director of research and rehabilitation in the physical education department at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), has explained how jumping for health offers a true physical strengthening effect to the muscles. He said, "Rebounding allows the muscles to go through the full range of motion at equal force. It helps people learn to shift their weight properly and to be aware of body positions and balance."
An advocate of rebounding for athletic conditioning, Dr. White uses the rebounder in his rehabilitation program at UCSD. "When you jump, jog, and twist on this (jumping) device you can exercise for hours without getting tired. It's great practice for skiing (see Photographs), it improves your tennis stroke, and it's a good way to burn off calories and lose weight," said Dr. White (see Table A). "My students tell me it's so much fun that they often exercise on the rebounders for their own enjoyment."
Rebounding offers a less stressful means of reducing body fat and simultaneously firming body tissues. Running in place on the rebounder burns calories effectively. According to a person's body weight, Table A shows how many calories from running on the rebounder may be expended per specified period of time in minutes.
Total Calories Spent Per Minutes of Running on the Rebounder (1)
Dr. White added that jumping for health is more effective for fitness and weight loss than cycling, running or jogging (see Table B), and it has the added advantage of producing fewer injuries.
As illustrated and explained in my book, Jumping for Health, there are 33 different exercises that may be performed advantageously on the rebounding device. Eight popular rebound movements are shown below (see Photographs 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10).
Specifications for the Perfect Rebounder
Depending on the quality, rebounding devices may be relatively low in cost, especially a department store model that's no more than a toy. Bouncing on such poorly-constructed models, usually imported from Asia, may actually be harmful to one's muscles, joints, and nerves. There's no yield to them and the abrupt jarring effect is the same as landing on the floor. My recommendation is that one should avoid purchasing these cheaply priced models.
Rebounding devices can be acquired from sporting goods stores, department stores, by mail order, and in some health food stores. No one manufacturer has a lock on the market for rebounders, but some are better manufactured than others. It's best, perhaps, to purchase your exercise unit directly from the manufacturer. (See Resources.)
Most important for excellent rebounding is the mat material. It should give no stretch during the downward landing, while at the same time providing a resilient rebound. Such a mat will be made from Permatron® material, which has a smooth finish. The Permatron® is resistant to ultraviolet rays, doesn't break down as do other fabrics, and allows no moisture absorption. Part of the specifications for a perfect rebounder is that its mat will be sewn together using 5760 stitches of high-grade nylon thread with two layers of strong polypropylene webbing stitched around the mat's edges.
Attached to a heavy-grade, all steel round frame should be an oversize spring mechanism holding four-inch-long, custom-made jumbo springs which deliver a soft bounce. Thirty-six springs made of quality wire will hold the mat to the frame. The springs should be shielded by a protective cover. Individual spring mounting pins prevent frame wear. Tapered coils help to give extended wearability to such springs. (Untapered coils allow low-quality springs to break frequently, requiring replacement.) Replacement springs must be available directly from the manufacturer since retail distributors seldom stock spare springs.
The spring-loaded legs should fold for easy storage under a bed or behind a door. For a folding rebounder, the frame should fold in half to be packed into its carrying bag, allowing for storage in a car trunk.
To jump for health, rebounding devices that exhibit all of these features of excellence I've been describing are the Needak® Soft-Bounce™ Rebounders. They meet all of these specifications for the ideal rebounding device. The stabilizing bar is an optional accessory that is easily attached to the Needak® Rebounder.
The chart comes from research performed by Victor L. Katch, Ph.D., Dept. of Physical Education, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
The chart comes from research performed by Victor. L. Katch, Ph.D., Dept. of Physical Education, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
This article appeared in the July, 1995 issue of the Townsend Letter For Doctors, pages 42 -48.
Copyright Needak Mfg. and Dr. Morton Walker.
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